French filmmaker Jean Nagel conceives the pre-Trojan War farewell between the great general Ulysses and his long-suffering wife Penelope in a stark contemporary setting.
Ulysses packs his large trunk with the designer military-style garments from a clothing rack. Penelope circles him while wrapping herself in a kaleidoscope of volcanic emotions: anger, betrayal, self-pity, loathing and fear. For his part, Ulysses retains a single emotion: visceral agitation that Penelope would use arguments of fidelity and parental responsibility to keep him from his military fate.
Nagel staged “Le Depart d’Ulysse” within the tight confines of a black box theater, as if to symbolize Ulysses and Penelope as pawns in a greater human drama. Julie Desmet explodes with Anna Magnani-worthy fury as the heartbroken yet furious Penelope, while Jean-Baptiste Mazoyer brings an impressive force of energy to his role as the determined general unshackling himself from his domestic setting.
Staccato editing by Thibaut Doncker and the use of overpowering Nine Inch Nails instrumentals adds to the combustible power of this highly impressive experimental short film.